Unemployment Job Search And Work Requirements
When you are collecting unemployment under normal circumstances, you must be available for work and actively seeking employment. You must be ready, willing, available, and able to work, and you may be required to report on your job search activities.
Because the unemployment job search and work requirements vary by state, you should check your states website to verify your compliance, but there are some general guidelines.
How To Contact An Unemployment Office
To find your local unemployment office and other helpful information, visit your state unemployment agency website.
It can be hard to get through to an unemployment office on the phone. Most states want claimants to file online, and it can be difficult to locate a phone number if you have a question or need to talk to a representative about your claim.
However, in some situations, the only way to get a definitive answer or clarification is to talk to an actual person. The FAQ sections of most state unemployment websites don’t cover all circumstances, and unemployment claims can be complicated.
Phone numbers are usually listed in the “Contact Us” section of your state unemployment office website.
A quick and easy way to find a telephone number or email address for your unemployment office is to search Google using your state’s name, unemployment office, and phone number. For example, searching Google for “New York unemployment phone” brings you directly to the contact information page for the NYS Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance contact page.
If English is not your first language, some states have telephone claims lines in other languages. California provides separate phone numbers for English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. If available, information on alternative phone numbers also will be listed on the contact page for the unemployment office.
How To File A Claim With The Unemployment Office
Have you recently lost your job or been laid off? If so, you may want to file a claim for unemployment benefits. If you have never interacted with an unemployment office before, you may be wondering where you should start. In this article, we will explain the unemployment process, discuss everything you need to bring to your local unemployment office and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about unemployment.
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Document Work Search Activities
You must document at least your minimum number of required activities every week. However, we recommend that you document all your work search efforts every week that you are receiving benefits. For unemployment purposes, a week begins on Sunday and ends on Saturday.
We may request your work search log for any week or number of weeks at any time during your benefit year. Keep all your work search logs for your entire benefit year, or for as long as you are receiving unemployment benefits, whichever is longer. If you are selected to submit your log, we send a notice to you.
Send a copy to TWC only if we request it, using the address or fax number we give you. You can also upload your work search log using our secure online UI Submission Portal. Once received, we will verify your activities.
All work search information you provide to TWC must be true and accurate. Intentionally giving false statements about work search activities constitutes fraud and can result in loss of benefits, overpayments on your claim, and criminal prosecution. For more information, see Unemployment Benefits Fraud.
Why Work At Twc
At TWC we serve Texas by helping to connect workers with jobs, benefits and training, and employers with a skilled workforce.
Our mission is to promote and support a workforce system that creates value and offers employers, individuals, and communities the opportunity to achieve and sustain economic prosperity.
For more information about how TWC employees serve Texas workers and employers, see About Texas Workforce.
To learn about the great benefits for our employees, see the Pay & Benefits sections below.
TWC is an equal opportunity employer and we are committed to ensuring that our workplace as well as our products and services are accessible for people with disabilities.
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Im Sorry Theres Nothing We Can Do
When I signed up to work at the unemployment office, I had no idea I would be spending my days talking people through economic despair. I thought Id be doing just the opposite.
When I was hired, I was told that my job was to help people claim their benefits and get paid. The agency has a system for determining who is eligible for unemployment. This is based on the reason one lost their job typically you wont be able to claim benefits if you quit as opposed to getting fired and their ability to work a future job. The guidelines on that second point are very loose: You just have to be able to work in some capacity. Even if you suffered from some debilitating injury, as long as you are still able to be a greeter at Walmart, you are still eligible.
I thought Id be helping people receive compensation. In practice, most of our calls involved telling people they were getting cut off. Once someone ran through the maximum of 72 weeks of payment, there was no money from the state left. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania had already gone through emergency compensation and state extended benefits.
Our hold times could be up to four hours long on a bad day. I handled multiple calls while the claimants used the bathroom. Sure, it seems gross, but waiting for us to pick up the line was an all-day event, so I cant blame them. You dont hold that long to hear theres nothing we can do.
Health & Optional Benefits
TWC employees participate in the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Texas Employees Group Benefits Program managed by ERS, which includes a variety of health, retirement and optional benefits. According to ERS, for the average state agency employee, the total value of the State of Texas compensation package with benefits is equal to your base salary plus 32.3%. The ERS New Employee Overview provides details on benefits, including the current New Employee Benefits Guide.
Highlights of the benefits plan:
- The State of Texas currently offers free, comprehensive medical insurance for employees and pays 50 percent of the premium cost for eligible dependents. Coverage is effective after 60 days with no pre-existing conditions exclusions.
- The state pays for $5,000 basic term life insurance coverage plus $5,000 for accidental death and dismemberment. You may purchase optional additional life insurance, voluntary accidental death and dismemberment insurance, or dependent life insurance.
- You may create a TexFlex health care or TexFlex day care flexible spending account to set aside pre-tax money from your paycheck to use for eligible out-of-pocket expenses.
- TWC employment qualifies you to enroll in the optional Texas Legal.
- manages a discount purchase program for state employees offering discounts on many products and services, from computers to theme park passes.
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How To File A Claim For Unemployment
You may be able to file for unemployment online or over the phone. Review the information you will need to open a claim, then visit your state unemployment office to determine the best way to open a claim and begin collecting unemployment.
In general, to file a claim, you will need:
- Social Security Number
- Alien Registration Card if you’re not a U.S. citizen
- Driver’s license or State ID card number
- Mailing address including zip code
- Phone number
- Names, addresses, and dates of employment for all employers for the last two years
It generally takes a few weeks after your claim to receive your first benefit check, direct deposit, or debit card. Some states require a one-week waiting period therefore, the second week claimed is the first week of payment.
Once your claim is approved, you should be able to file your weekly claims online, by phone or mail.
Unemployment Benefits As An Independent Contractor In Texas
In Texas, you can receive unemployment benefits as long as you meet other requirements, including continuing to look for full-time work.
While working as an independent contractor, you can earn up to 25% of your weekly benefit amount without your benefits being reduced. If you earn more than 25% in a week, the unemployment benefit money you receive for that week will be reduced by how much you earn over the 25%. If you earn more than your weekly benefit amount, you wont receive any unemployment benefits at all.
For example, if you receive $500 per week in unemployment benefits, you can earn up to $125 per week working as an independent contractor with Cloud Dentistry before your benefits will be affected.
In the same scenario, if you were entitled to $500 per week in unemployment benefits, but received $150 per week working as an independent contractor, your weekly unemployment benefits would be reduced to $475. If you earned more than $500 per week as a freelancer, you wouldnt be entitled to any unemployment benefits.
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Employers View Contract Work Positively
Working as an independent contractor and accepting part-time jobs at a time like this proves youre a hard-working, proactive and motivated person.
While many people will have a gap on their resume covering these months, you can stand out from the crowd by listing a series of independent contractor assignments on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Eligibility For Unemployment Benefits
To be eligible for unemployment benefit payments, you must:
- Lose your job through no fault of your own OR quit for good cause related to the work or the employer.
- Make at least $2,250at least $1,500 during one of the calendar quarters, and at least $750 during the remainder of the base periodfrom an insured employer during your base period. .
- AND your total base period wages must be at least 1.5 times your highest quarter wages.
- OR you must make at least 1.5 times the Taxable Wage Base during two of the four base period quarters.
- Any information provided during the claims application process may be subject to verification through computer matching programs.
- If your hours were reduced, you may also be eligible for partial unemployment benefits.
- To remain eligible:
- You must report all wages earned each week, even if you wont be paid until later. This includes tips, commissions, bonuses, show-up time, military reserve pay, board, and lodging.
- You must be able and available for work each week. This means you have no illness, injury, or personal circumstances that would keep you from working full time.
- Refusing an offer of work may result in denial of unemployment benefits.
Other Types Of Benefits And Programs For The Unemployed
Federal agencies offer many unemployment education and training programs. They are generally free or low cost to the unemployed.
Self-employment assistance programs help unemployed workers start their own small businesses. Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, and Oregon offer this program.
Change In Filing Process Due To Covid
In order to reduce hold times for telephone filings, claims will be taken on specific days, based on the first letter of the claimant’s last name.
- If your last name begins with A-M: please file your claim on Mondayor Thursday
- If your last name begins with N-Z: please file your claim on Tuesday or Friday
The Claims Call Center is available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
UI claims may be filed anytime via WYUI.wyo.gov.
In an effort to process claims as quickly as possible and make sure those claimants who are eligible for UI benefits receive them in a timely manner, the UI claims office will not be available by phone on Wednesdays. All UI personnel are working Wednesdays to process claims.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services – Unemployment Insurance Program pays temporary benefits to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. In order to access this program, those workers need to be looking for work and meet certain requirements.
The Unemployment Insurance Division offers the following services:
- Unemployment Claims and Payments
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Unemployment Work Search Requirements
While the rules and requirements vary by state, many states expect unemployed workers to register, keep a running log of their job search and report on it periodically.
This can vary from weekly submissions to monthly accounts.
In Washington state, for example, unemployed workers are required to keep a job search log for each week they claim unemployment benefits. There must be a combined total of three employer contacts or approved job search activities each week. The log must contain company information, how the contact was made , a contact name or confirmation of application, and the type of contact.
New York state, as another example, requires unemployed workers to apply to or contact several prospective employers each week. You must also keep a record of your work search that includes the employer name, address, and phone number, date of contact, a method of contact, position applied for, whether an application was accepted, and the result of the contact.
How To Get A Copy Of Your Work History From The Unemployment Office
An initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits requires listing your employment history for the past 18 months so your eligibility for benefits can be determined. The unemployment office uses this information to pull the salary and wages you were paid during the 18-month period. This earnings information is made available to you whether your application is approved or not. A case history chronicling your work with a particular employer also is made available if your claim is initially denied and appealed.
Apply for unemployment benefits during your first week of unemployment or partial unemployment. You can apply for benefits online, over the telephone or at an unemployment office.
Provide the unemployment office with the name and address of all your employers within the past 18 months. Some states also require phone numbers. If you do not know the specific address or phone number for your employer, consult an old pay stub or look up your employer’s information in the phone book or online.
Wait for your benefit determination letter to arrive stating whether you were approved for unemployment. It typically arrives within one to three weeks. The letter expands on the work history you provided on your application by listing wages paid by individual employers from an original payment date to the date of termination.
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Looking For Work While Collecting Unemployment
While the rules regarding looking for work vary from state to state, unemployed workers collecting benefits in traditional circumstances need to be searching for a job. Unemployed workers are often required to report on their job search to their state unemployment department. Also, they may be required to keep a job search log to provide to the unemployment office upon request.
Unemployment job search requirements vary based on regulations in the state from which you are collecting benefits, as well as on the type of benefits you are collecting. Check with your state unemployment office for requirements in your location.
Wage And Hour Division
Wage and Hour Compliance Specialists – You will conduct investigations and gather data about wages, hours, and other employment conditions or practices in order to determine compliance with the various Federal Employee protection laws administered and enforced by the Wage and Hour Division. Where violations are found, you may also recommend changes in employment practices to bring an employer into compliance. Duties also include providing outreach and education to assist employers to comply with labor standards.
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How To Request A Payment
If you have an active UI claim, you can request a benefits payment by phone or online. You will need:
- Your earnings amount for each week
- Your work search activities for each week
To Request Unemployment Benefits Payments Online: Log on to Unemployment Benefits Services. To Request a Payment by Phone: After your unemployment claim is on file, call Tele-Serv toll free at 1-800-558-8321.
- WHEN TO CALL: Sunday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Monday – Wednesday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- If you miss your assigned day, call Thursday or Friday 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Individuals needing telecommunications devices for the deaf can communicate with TWC-UI offices by using Relay Texas. Those numbers are 1-800-735-2989 or 1-800-735-2988 Don’t wait for a determination to request your payment. You should request payment one to two weeks after you first apply for benefits and every two weeks after that. You can find the date you are scheduled to request payment on your Unemployment Benefits Services account or by calling Tele-Serv.
How to Manage and Review Your Claim
Information You Need To Apply
You will need:
- Your last employers business name, address and phone number
- First and last dates you worked for your last employer. If you worked for your last employer on more than one occasion, provide the most recent employment dates.
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked the week you apply for benefits
- Information about the normal wage for the job you are seeking
- Alien Registration number
- A valid Texas Driver License number or Texas Identification Card number
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